Blogs adapted from Russ' book

The Jewish High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), offer a guide for introspection. We’re told to pause, take stock, confess our sins and repent: What have we contributed, to our family, our community, ourselves? Where did we go astray, do something harmful to someone else or to ourselves?

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For many Jews, the High Holidays are a time of introspection followed by a desire to improve. It’s our time for introspection as well as a new year, so sentiments are similar to anyone’s “new beginnings.” We’ve acknowledged our human frailties, the many times we went astray: now what? Where do we start? It can seem overwhelming. It can also leave us anxious: what if I commit to some change, and fail (like I did last year)? Better not to try at all?

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In 1983 Apple Computers was looking for a new CEO. Steve Jobs was brilliant when it came to new products, but he was a terrible manager. So, the board asked Jobs to find a promising CEO. After interviewing 20 candidates, Jobs decided that Pepsi executive John Sculley was his choice. When Jobs asked him to lead Apple, Sculley said no. He didn’t want to leave Pepsi. Jobs kept asking, Scully kept declining.

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I grew up in Detroit and learned a good deal about the auto industry. That learning began with Henry Ford. He was a brilliant entrepreneur, he built a strong company and a great car—the Model T—the first car that was affordable to the masses. But Ford was a control freak who wouldn’t delegate and tried to run everything himself.

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Why are some people more resilient than others? Researchers have asked that question for decades. Some of the answers relate to individual characteristics like initiative, determination, motivation, optimism, and self-awareness. These all make sense, but resilience usually requires other factors.

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In 2012, crime was spiraling out of control in Camden. The city had a murder rate 18 times the national average. Officers saw themselves as warriors trying to dominate criminals, not as professionals there to protect and serve the public. Relationships between the police and African Americans were extremely tense…

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My client was nervous. He was embarking on a strategic planning effort for his agency’s child abuse/neglect program. I asked about his anxieties. “Our staff are used to doing what they’ve always done, but we need to take a fresh look at how we do our work. I’ve got an idea about a new approach, but some of them may not like it.”…

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On a Friday evening in early 2022, Judy Woodruff of the PBS NewsHour asked her guest David Brooks how he was doing. Brooks, a well-known New York Times columnist, is a popular speaker and author with a quick wit and obvious intelligence. But when Woodruff asked her question, he paused and said…

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When the country closed down in March 2020, Jill Clark sat at her desk wondering how the Jewish preschool she directed would survive. More than the financial challenge, she worried about the children; kids 2-5 thrive on social interaction. There was no way she and her staff were going to ask them to tune in on Zoom for daily instruction. What to do?

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I love to sail. As any decent sailor knows, you can’t sail directly into the wind, even if that’s where your ultimate destination lies. But you can usually get there by “tacking” back and forth, learning how to read the currents and breezes, keeping a firm hand on the tiller and paying attention to timing.

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